Quick Look at FY18 Energy and Water Spending in ‘Minibus’

TCS ExplainsQuick Look at FY18 Energy and Water Spending in ‘Minibus’This is what a subtitle will look like

Energy & Natural Resources  | Research & Analysis
Jul 28, 2017  | 2 min read

The last of the four bills in the “Minibus” is the House’s FY18 Energy and Water Development appropriations bill.

The bill takes a cue from the president’s FY18 Budget Request by reducing spending overall, but diverges from the president’s plan on the level and distribution of the cuts. (See chart below)

The $37.6 billion in new budget authority provided by the bill represents a 2.1 percent cut from the FY17 Energy & Water funding level, compared to the 11.1 percent cut recommended by the president’s budget. Even if the size of the cut differs, its general targets are the same – both the bill and request increase funding for nuclear activities at the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) by nearly $1 billion, or about 7.5 percent, at the expense of “energy programs” at the Department of Energy.

While the president’s budget decreased funding for the latter by more than a third, the House is proposing to make a not-insignificant cut of 14.8 percent over last year’s level. It’s also worth noting that the bump-up for the NNSA is consistent with the long-term trend: the proposed FY18 NNSA allocation of $13.9 billion is more than 150 percent of what it was in FY08.

The biggest source of disagreement between the two spending plans is funding for the water part of the Energy & Water bill. The House bill would decrease the Bureau of Reclamation’s funding, but only by a third as much as Trump’s budget. Moreover, while the president’s budget requested cutting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE’s) budget by 17 percent, the House plan actually increases spending on the Corps by two percent. This follows a historic trend back to the Carter administration – the president proposes cuts to the Corps and Congress restores the funds and often increases funding on a year-to-year basis.

Energy & Water Appropriations – Breakdown $, millions FY14 Enacted FY15 Enacted FY16 Enacted FY17 Enacted FY18 Request House Bill
NNSA 11,207 11,407 12,527 12,938 13,931 13,914
Energy Programs 10,211 10,233 11,027 11,284 7,511 9,609
Environmental and Other Defense Activities 5,755 6,217 6,066 6,752 6,383 6,230
USACE 5,467 5,455 5,989 6,038 5,002 6,158
Bureau of Reclamation 1,113 1,140 1,275 1,317 1,106 1,238
Independent Agencies and Other 373 329 440 121 256 492
Total Bill 34,127 34,780 37,323 38,450 34,189 37,641